20 February 2007

On another week-end of discovery, Yoonho and I had the most amazing spontaneous trip. We went to Co-ex shopping centre to watch a film at the cinema but of course Saturday afternoon was a chaotic mess there. I was dying to watch Blood Diamond but it was already booked out by the time we arrived. Disappointed and without the force to choose another film, we went to the subway and decided to randomly choose a station. We chose the bus terminal. We took a bus there and then when we arrived, we looked at a map of Korea and decided to go to a place called Onyang. We bought some bus tickets and withing minutes were off to this town supposedly known for it’s natural hotsprings (oncheon). Without a change of clothes or supplies, this spontaneous trip proved to be a wonderful escape from Seoul and a week-end I will never forget. Like most small towns in Korea, this town had a little market where everything seemed to be going on. We made TV tour…




Korea, a dreamland!

Does
my title surprise you? After almost three months in Korea I have found
peace. As I resisted the initial shock of coming to a country that I
felt was negative and unhappy, I saw a side of Korea that I will never
forget.

Over a month ago whilst Jen was in Thailand, I was
watching a Korean TV channel in English. The subject was the “Good Ol’
Days” and discussed life in Korea before the economic boom that
drastically modernised the country. It showed a small town called
Jeong-son found east of Seoul. There was a traditional market where
locals made their incomes and gathered every five days. I knew I had to
go there so last week Yoonho, Jen and I decided to find it. We took a
bus deep into the countryside. As soon as we got on the bust we could see the change from the city and the countryside. Jen sat beside a man who seemed to fear his life on the bus and held onto the seatbelt strap for support.







We arrived at Jeongson and entered the sleepy little bus station with excitement. We took at local bus to the town centre and were the only passengers on the bus!

The market was fascinating! So many types of food were sold and it was just as I imagined from having seen the TV programme. Old people were making their livings selling chilies, vegetables, homemade tofu and every other thing you can imagine.

After our afternoon in the market, Jen wanted to visit an ice festival that she had read about. We took a bus into the mountains and arrived in a desolate town with one taxi. Luckily the driver was available and took us to the festival. Although global warming has affected Korea just like other cold climate countries, the melting ice sculptures didn’t detract us from having fun. We played in the snow and enjoyed the winter wonderland. Perhaps the highlight of the day was our finding of a perfectly constructed igloo. Inside the igloo was a rather cosmopolitan cocktail bar for three people! We sat in the melting igloo and drank cocktails complimented by fried catepillars as the sun set in the mountains of Jeongson. It was beautiful and memorable. Have a look at the video below.




After our day in the snow and ice, we decided to head down to the coast to a city called Kanleung. We had a delicious dinner of seafood and the next day we went to the windy winter beach and enjoyed an amazing array of raw seafood. Getting back to Seoul we realised how nice life in the countryside can be. I want to go back soon!

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